Just a few comments on the absurd theater we were unwitting spectators of today.
Here are a few things of note that are likely to become formative of a new storyline to be fed by the Kremlin in the next few days:
- First, the police try to arrest one of the alleged killers, somewhere in Chechnya. Contrary to logic, they “block him” in his apartment, rather than wait him out and detain him – at much less risk to themselves and to the other inhabitants of the “multistory apartment building”. (as Russian blogger Anton Nosik rightfully observes, “any time that Russian police block someone in their apartment, this has resulted in the blocked alleged criminal dying, one way or the other“; never in them being actually caught. Predictably, the alleged co-killer, Beslan Shavanov, blows himself up with a grenade. Somehow, the blow-by-blow (n.p.i) report about this suicidal act is conveyed almost in real time to Interfax.
- Why is this relevant? It provides a “fanatic suicide bomber” meme, something that will be very useful for the new narrative, see below.
- Then, the key alleged “killer”, Zaur Dadaev, is shown in the court-room cage grimacing and rambling under his nose; his eyes reading “I am an extremist and I am a fanatic”. The only thing that Dadaev says coherently, is a shout at the cameras “I love Mohamed”.
- What does this element provide? More of the same. An extremist meme. Clearly, we are witnessing a radicalized religious fanatic, who else declares their love for the prophet in a (legally speaking) self-damning context.
- Last, out of the blue, Ramzan Kadyrov posts a long eulogy on Dadaev and Shavanov on his newly created VK wall. Kadyrov says Dadaev was a true patriot, he knew him well, he was one of the bravest soldiers he has worked with, he loved Russia. Notice the past tense? Dadaev hasn’t died (Shavanov did, and Kadyrov speaks just as highly of him in his post). So why the past tense? Because, Kadyrov implies, something must have happened to Zaur. Something mystique. Why did he leave the army? (why not, after more than 10 years, as his mother said, one might wonder). Something must have changed him. But Kadyrov will find out. He has personally ordered an investigation – not of anything related to the murder, such as (one would expect) any preparation for the murder done in Chechnya, any other co-conspirators that might pose a threat to society, BUT – mind you – into “what made him leave the army and what his mindset may have been in the last months”
- Why is this relevant? Because it prepares the groundwork for the sudden to-be-made discovery – by Kadyrov’s own investigative team – that these two patriots have fallen prey to some foreign mind-control power, some entity that is known to bend minds and attract converts from amongst even the sanest and good-est. A power like ISIS, for example. Hey, they do convert Americans and Brits, why wouldn’t they be able to convert Russian nationals?
Once this story is spun, the Kremlin is off the hook. And so is Kadyrov. After all, wasn’t Russia the country that warned the West not to meddle with Assad, because the alternative is much worse? Here you go. it is worse.
So don’t meddle with Putin either.
UPDATE: The morning after I wrote this, a “source inside the investigation” leaked to Russian media the scoop that they “have identified that Dadaev has had foreign contacts prior to the murder“, and as a result, the “foreign connection” is now being actively investigated.
On the same day Ramzan Kadyrov received a Medal of Honor from President Putin for “work successes and many years of loyal service to the nation”. In this context, one cannot but remember this quote from Kadyrov, given in an interview to NewsWeek in 2010:
Those who criticize Putin are not human, they are my personal enemies. As long as Putin backs me up, I can do everything—Allahu akbar!